Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer says he's heartbroken about 24-21 loss to Bengals

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CINCINNATI - Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer appeared emotionally drained after watching his players battle for 60 minutes Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals and still didn't bring home the prize - a win.

Behind Trevor Lawrence, they hit on some big offensive plays.

Their offensive line was aggressive.

Running back James Robinson racked up yardage on the ground and the Jaguars defense made 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and their top running back Joe Mixon non-factors in the opening half when the Jaguars led 14-0.

Despite all that, the Jaguars still lost 24-21 in prime time in front of 63,198 at Paul Brown Stadium. Former Florida kicker Evan McPherson made a 35-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Bengals.

Meyer still believes he has a roster of winners, but they dropped to 0-4. And there's no break in the schedule with AFC South rival Tennessee coming to town next week.

With a 19-game losing streak dating to last season, the Jaguars are just seven losses away from tying the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 26-game losing streak, the longest in NFL history.

''It's sickening we couldn't win that game,'' Meyer said. ''It's heartbreaking. That's a heartbroken locker room.''

Jacksonville Jaguars' James Robinson (25) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Jacksonville Jaguars' James Robinson (25) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It was supposed to be a homecoming for Meyer - a return to Ohio where was he was born and revered when he coached the Ohio State Buckeyes for seven seasons that included winning a national championship in 2014.

But Thursday night's loss shook Meyer and his players to the core. For the second consecutive week, the Jaguars started effectively but couldn't finish. They couldn't hold a 21-14 lead with 14:27 remaining after they led 14-0 at halftime.

Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, the Jaguars led 19-10 before surrendering 21 unanswered points and lost, 31-19.

After Thursday night's loss, Meyer's eyes were bloodshot red. He slammed his fist hard on the podium and said, ''Gosh,'' after he was told his offense did not turn the ball over for the first time in four games.

When it rains, it pours on the Jaguars.

They lost receiver D.J. Chark to a left ankle injury that occurred on the third play of the game when he was blocking downfield and got rolled up when running back James Robinson landed on him as he was tackled. After the game, Meyer said Chark suffered a broken ankle.

Starting right guard A.J. Cann was forced out of the game in the second quarter when he also got rolled up and did not return. Meyer said he didn't know the extent of Cann's knee injury, but it was an MCL issue.

''This one hurts to be up 14-0 and somehow come up on the wrong side of it,'' Lawrence said. ''I really want to get a win with these guys. We just have to finish. It's collectively. It's not one side of the ball. We're right there. This hurts for sure. It's a primetime, Thursday night game, but it happens."

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Urban Meyer calls Jaguars loss to Bengals 'heartbreaking'